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Nice hat. It’s mine now

July 10, 2010

The best part of the internet are the comments. Although usually disparaging, they offer a place for readers to vent and add information. In Canada one might think it’s ok to just take things. As long as those things belong to First Nations people.

Some findings in the CEAA bring up many interesting facts about the Taseko mine. The Tsilhqot’in First Nation are not opposed to the mine. They are opposed to it destroying their way of life. The lake is a big part of their culture, and they want to keep it that way. The rest of Canada seems to think it’s ok to just tell them to move. How or why is that ok? Because a big company comes and says here’s some money? A whole lot of people in B.C. don’t believe in Aboriginal rights and title and this will be proven if the mine goes through.

An interesting quote from page 213 of the CEAA by Shawnee Palmatier noted:

In my surveys of logging cut blocks for our community of Tl’esqox, we raised time and time again areas of traditional use, areas where we exercised our Aboriginal Rights. The reply from both MoF [Ministry of Forests and Range] and licensees was, “You can practice elsewhere.” … It sounds like that we have a large land base and that there are plenty of areas for us to practice Aboriginal Rights. There are not. The Fish Lake area in Xeni Gwet’in territory is the last that’s left of our Nation’s territory that doesn’t have quite the development footprint that the rest of us have. It can’t be put to us that we can practice our Aboriginal Rights elsewhere… It cannot be put to us that there are protected areas and parks for us to practice Aboriginal Rights.


Page 217 of the report asserts that claim:

In reaching its conclusions on the effects of the Project on Aboriginal rights and title, the Panel considered the following factors to be particularly relevant:

  • in general, First Nations stated that section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 provides protection for their Aboriginal rights;
  • First Nations stated that they were being displaced from the land and this was affecting their ability to practice their Aboriginal rights;
  • in the William case, the Tsilhqot’in were granted the right to hunt and trap birds and animals throughout the Claim area; with respect to title, Justice Vickers ruled that had the lawsuit been pleaded differently, he probably would have found Aboriginal title for over almost half of the Claim Area;
  • the proposed mine site would be located within the Claim Area with respect to
    Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal rights to hunt and trap, but would be located within the Eastern Trapline area which was outside of the potential title area;
  • in the claim Baptiste et al. vs. Taseko Mines Ltd, HMTQ BC and AGC, the Tsilhqot’in asserted the right to fish in Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and to the protection and conservation of the cultural, ecological and spiritual integrity of the lands, waters and resources in and around Teztan Biny, as required to sustain the meaningful exercise of the asserted right;
  • the Esketemc (Alkali Lake Band) and the Stswecem’c/Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek Band), members of the Secwepemc Nation, reported that they were in stage 4 of the 6-stage British Columbia Treaty Process;
  • the Secwepemc stated they had a proven Aboriginal right to hunt in accordance with the Alphonse case and a proven Aboriginal right to fish in accordance with Supreme Court of Canada decisions in Sparrow and Kapp;
  • and the Stswecem’c/Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek Band) also stated they had uncontested Aboriginal rights to trap and harvest plants. 

Some people may be of the opinion that the First Nations people are standing in the way of progress in the province of B.C. The First Nation proponents believe that B.C. is standing in the way of continuing the First Nations culture.

What is really scary about the prospect is that in 2010 it’s alright for the government to step in and just take the land away. And if it happens, and no one bats an eyelash, than what do we look like to the rest of the world?

Canada’s track record in regards to Indigenous rights isn’t a good one. The government refused to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A look at Amnesty International’s website lists a host of grievances against the hostility of the government towards Indigenous rights.

The Canadian government has told the United Nations that the situation of Indigenous peoples is “the most pressing human rights issue facing Canadians.” Yet the Canadian government has repeatedly failed to implement UN the recommendations of UN human rights bodies concerning the protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights in Canada. Amnesty International’s work in Canada has included the land rights of the Lubicon Cree, the police shooting of Dudley George, and violence against Indigenous women. LINK

 The British North American ACt of 1867 is the founding constitutional doctrine on which we pride ourselves on as Canadians. Section 91 gave power to the newly created federal government for the responsibility and authority over Aboriginals and any land that was to be reserved for them. Which is how First Nations people got to the little parcels of land called reserves.

You’d think we can move past this bullying process.



One Comment leave one →
  1. Eva Rose permalink
    July 10, 2010 5:44 pm

    why is it that you steal hats and everything you can get your hands on, my hat is not for grabs, not to take! my first nation hat.

    2 thumbs up today

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